Richard Land says It's Troubling that a Casino Magnate Is Funding Much of Newt Gingrich's Bid for the Presidency
A top official with the Southern Baptist Convention said it's troubling that a casino magnate's $10 million is funding much of the effort to make Newt Gingrich president.
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Gingrich should distance himself from casino gambling, said Richard Land, president of the Nashville-based Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, the public policy arm of the nation's second largest religious denomination. The SBC has more than 16 million members, according to denomination websites, more than 1.3 million of them in Georgia.
A spokesman for Gingrich said the former Georgia congressman doesn't gamble and would leave the issue for the states to decide if elected president.
Several other Christian conservatives said that while they don't support gambling, they don't fault Gingrich, because he doesn't control the pro-Gingrich Super PAC that received the contributions.
Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire chairman and CEO of Nevada-based Las Vegas Sands Corp. -- which owns the Venetian and Palazzo casino resorts -- and his wife, Miriam, each contributed $5 million to the Winning Our Future Super PAC this month, according to news reports.
"When you are so prohibitively in debt to one particular lobbying group, that is a great concern," Land said. "And it will be a great concern to many Southern Baptists because we believe gambling is a scourge. It is the fastest growing addiction in the country. And we certainly don't want a president who is going to promote it."
The Adelsons declined to comment through a spokesman.
Matt Towery, an Atlanta-area political pollster and former Gingrich aide, said Gingrich's campaign would be in trouble if it were not for the Adelsons' financial backing. Gingrich's chief rival, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, has a much bigger campaign war chest, and a Super PAC supporting Romney has been savaging Gingrich with critical television ads in recent weeks.
Rick Tyler, a former Gingrich aide and now a senior adviser to Winning Our Future, declined to comment on the Adelsons' donations. But he did confirm that the PAC was able to buy $6 million in campaign advertisements in Florida this week, including a TV ad that links Romney to President Obama on the federal healthcare overhaul.
Source: Atlanta Journal Constitution | Jeremy Redmon
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